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The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens

In recent years, young Americans have become dangerously less engaged. They are tolerant, patriotic, and idealistic, and some have invented such novel and impressive forms of civic engagement, as blogs, ‘buycott’ movements, and transnational youth networks. But most lack the skills and opportunities they need to participate in politics or address public problems. Levine’s timely manifesto clearly explains the causes, symptoms, and repercussions of this damaging trend, and, most importantly, the means whereby America can confront and reverse it.

Levine demonstrates how to change young people’s civic attitudes, skills, and knowledge and, equally importantly, to reform our institutions so that civic engagement is rewarding and effective. We must both prepare citizens for politics and improve politics for citizens.

  • “Levine’s book is a little gem that I will keep on my bookshelf, close at hand. I first met Levine through his work on the Civic Mission of Schools, setting forth a consensus view of what we can do in our nation’s schools to rescue students from the era of civic and historical illiteracy. The Future of Democracy is an apt name for this book. Without taking more aggressive steps as a nation to put our country’s civic health on the national radar screen-and to engage families, schools, communities, churches and political institutions in fostering a spirit of civic commitment among our young people-the future of that democracy looks grim. Levine finds innovative ways at all levels of education and governance to rescue it.”-John M. Bridgeland, Former Director, White House Domestic Policy Council & USA Freedom Corps.
  • “In The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of Citizens, Peter Levine makes a number of valuable contributions to academic and ‘real world’ debates over the state of U.S. democracy. It brings clarity to key concepts at the heart of these debates. It provides a comprehensive overview and synthesis of empirical research on young people’s civic and political engagement. It assesses the effectiveness of existing efforts to increase youth engagement in the public sphere. It makes well-grounded recommendations for reform. And, perhaps most importantly, it makes a compelling case for the central role young people must play if democracy is to function responsively and responsibly.”-Michael X. Delli Carpini, Dean, The Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania.

PETER LEVINE is Director of CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Education, which he helped launch in 2001. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University and is also Research Scholar at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy in the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. He has served as Executive Committee chair of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and in other advocacy roles. He has published five books and numerous articles on politics, civil society, the Internet, and moral philosophy, and literature.

The Future of Democracy is a manifesto for youth civic engagement, based on a critical review of recent research. CIRCLE’s director, Peter Levine, is the author of this book, but it draws heavily on work by CIRCLE’s staff, grantees, and advisory board, among others. All proceeds will benefit CIRCLE.

Peter Levine, Civil Society Series, Tufts University Press/University Press of New England (2007)

Resource Link: www.upne.com/1-58465-648-4.html

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